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At the time of writing, PokerStars has crowned 31 SCOOP champions at low, medium and high levels. That makes a grand total of 93 mighty men and women, and none of them have won more money than Sorel Mizzi.

Playing under the pseudonym ‘zangbean24,’ Mizzi won his second-ever SCOOP title, and $354,960 in prize money, after topping a field of 986 entrants in Event #3: $2,100 (H) No-Limit Hold’em.

A few days later he emerged from his apartment to take a seat in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Amsterdam Main Event. A cruel beat AK<AQ eliminated him in 12th place when it looked for all the world that he would go on and do very well in the competition.

Lee Davy caught up with Mizzi during a break in play at Amsterdam and this is what he had to say.

How Amazing was it to Win Your Second SCOOP Title?

“For a long time I didn’t think I was going to win anything. It was shaping up to be a pretty disastrous day for me. I accidentally mixed my light marijuana with my strong stuff and ended up completely glued to my bed. My cognitive abilities were not up to par, to say the least, and consequently I ended up blowing a load of stacks.

“When I finally came around I was one-tabling the $2k. There were around 200 people left and I had 6 big blinds. I was nowhere near the money, and at the bottom of the chip counts. I decided to ring my good friends Liv {Boeree} and Igor {Kurganov}. I told them that I was in contention for the title just to wind them up, and then ended up winning it, which was pretty funny.

It was not only a great result for you personally, but great for those less fortunate than you. Talk a little about that.

“I work with REG charity as a member. It’s a non-profit organization that was founded by Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, Philipp Gruissem, and some effective altruists from Switzerland. At first I didn’t know much about it, but being involved in a team with people who are close to me, personally, was enough for me to get involved. I know that the people who were running it had great intentions.

“Over time I have learned that REG Charity applies a very scientific and rational approach to their giving. So this makes sure we give to the people who are in the most need. I think that’s brilliant, and I want to be involved in something like that.”

What have you learned since joining REG?

“I am more aware of what’s going on in the world. Human beings born in some parts of the third world are going to have a lot of struggles. Your life is based on survival. It’s a constant struggle everyday. Learning about that gives me a greater appreciation of what I have, and makes me feel compelled to help in whatever way I can.”

Is it difficult to remain balanced in terms of how much you give compared to how much to keep?

“Absolutely. I have pretty much decided that 5% of my earnings will go to charity. I would like that to stretch to 10% one day. I decided on that number and went with it and I am comfortable doing that. When you are making all of this money, and buying nice things for yourself, and you know you can use that money to save children in Africa, there is an element of guilt that comes with that.

“I don’t spend as frivolously as I once did. I am a lot more conservative. A hundred bucks can change the trajectory of someone’s life immeasurably and I have the opportunity to do much more than that. I have a great opportunity and I am going to take it.

“It’s easy to ignore poverty when it’s happening so far away. Unless it’s in close proximity people don’t have to care. REG have teamed up with some impressive organizations that evaluate the cost of saving a life. For example, one organization they help is ‘Deworming the World’. It costs just 50 cents to deworm a child. Look at the value in that. It may be a band aid solution in a way, but at least you’re doing something to improve the process.”

Are you heading to Burning Man this year?

“I don’t have a ticket yet, but I will be there. You got to expect the unexpected on the Playa. Anything can happen. It really is a magical place. You are in the desert with 50-60k like-minded people. A lot of them will be experimenting with their consciousness and you can experience it with them. It’s a great learning process. Everyone should experience Burning Man.”

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Lee Davy

Life can be viewed as the sum of the parts or the parts themselves. I believe in the holistic view of life, or the sum. When dealing with individual parts you develop whack-a-mole syndrome; each time you clobber one problem with your hammer another one just pops up.